Ali, the Prophet’s successor and companion, was fighting with an infidel on a battlefield. Ali was about to thrust his sword into the other man’s heart when all of a sudden the infidel raised his head and spit at him. Ali immediately dropped his sword, took a deep breath, and walked away. The infidel was stunned. He ran after Ali and asked him why he was letting him go.
“Because I’m very angry at you,” said Ali.
“Then why don’t you kill me?” the infidel asked. “I don’t understand.”
Ali explained, “When you spit in my face, I got very angry. My pride was provoked, yearning for revenge. If I kill you now, I’ll be following my worse instincts. And that would be a huge mistake.”
So Ali set the man free. The infidel was s touched that he became Ali’s friend and follower, and in time he converted to Islam of his own free will.
—Manuscript from The Forty rules of Love by Elif Shafak